Transport minister hopeful ‘reborn’ traditional Malta bus concept can become a reality

​ Ian Borg says cleaner buses are the next step for public transport

The Malta Bus Reborn concept was launched by Ian Borg on Friday
The Malta Bus Reborn concept was launched by Ian Borg on Friday

Transport Minister Ian Borg has said he is hopeful a “reborn” Malta bus concept, which introduces an electric bus incorporating characteristics from traditonal Maltese buses, can become a reality in the future.

The concept, designed by Architect Jonathan Mizzi from Mizzi Studio, envisages a modern, fully electric fleet of buses painted in the liveries of Malta’s buses of old and featuring a re-imagined retro design.

Borg, who launched the concept during an activity in Triton Square - in the area the old bus terminus was located - on Friday, said traditional Maltese buses were a source of nostalgia for many, despite lacking today’s amenities, such as free Wi-Fi.

“At the same time we have to accept that the world moves on, and we need to keep up with progress. Today we have a public transport service that’s bringing a lot of results while serving more than 150,000 passengers a day, a service that has been subject to several reforms by this government leading to positive results, including a substantial increase in usage,” Borg said.

“[…] The next step is to look ahead towards more solutions while working towards the concept of sustainability, as we are already doing together with Transport Malta through financial incentives for the purchasing of electric, sustainable or smaller means, the sharing concept and micro-mobility. The next step is to look ahead towards cleaner buses towards cleaner air.”

In light of this effort towards cleaner transportation, the Transport Ministry has lent its full support to the “reborn” design by Mizzi and his team, Borg underlined.

“It is a concept that brings together something very nostalgic for us Maltese and something we are looking at for our future – sustainability, alternative means, electro-mobility. I commend Architect Mizzi and his team for this impeccable design joining culture and progress and I hope that in the future this design can be tangibly realised,” he said.

“We look forward to more progress in this sector for a service that is always better and always more sustainable, while reiterating our commitment as a Government towards more investment and incentives so that more and more people consider public transport as their preferred means of transport.”

Borg added that the 53.5 million public transport passenger record in 2018 meant almost twice the number of passengers used the service last year compared to 2011.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to continue incentivising bus usage, as had been done in the last three years, with free public transport for all young people aged 14 to 20 and for all full-time students.

Despite the results, work remained to be done, he said, with the government currently working on several investments in new bus shelters around the country.

From his end, Mizzi said traditional buses had been a "lifeline that fuelled our connectivity across every arterial road" and that they "brought so much colour and joy to our roads, since each colour denoted its own route."

“My studio and I have worked very hard over seven years to capture the essence of our diverse bus fleet into a singular design that unifies the most common genetic features of them all fusing them with the functionality of the latest technology in transport. It’s fitting that we are here today at the site of our old bus terminus to exhibit this new concept," he said, as he thanked Borg for endorsing the concept.

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